Panther Rewind: 14 Best Plays Season-to-Date

Update by Jaxon: Hat Tip to BigD with a positive post to try and pick us up. Front page material I think.


We need something to smile about.  Recalling these outstanding efforts might do it.

I wanted to do the standard "Top 10," but couldn't eliminate any of these.  There are plays from the Offense, Defense, and Special Teams mixed in here.  The order of importance is my own ranking, of course, and you'll undoubtedly have differing ideas on those, but here they are, for your enjoyment.  (A separate list of Worst Plays will be forthcoming.)

#14.  Game 1 vs NYG.  3Q, 6:08, 3and8, our 25.  Matt Moore throws one of his better passes, to convert a 3rd down, on a dig route by Steve Smith, who gets 7YAC, for a total gain of 28 yards, to the Giants' 47.  A subsequent drop by Smith, and an attempted screen, which is batted down, force us to punt after that.  This is one of our better gains, and is included here, as many of these are, to show what CAN be done, if a play's well executed by all 11.

#13.  Game 2 vs Tampa Bay.  4Q, 7:24, 4and2, their 48.  Very much like #14 above, but this time it's Jimmy Clausen, completing for 28 to Steve Smith.  As this is the first series in the NFL for Clausen, it ranks ahead of #14, and it also comes on a 4th down, and keeps a long drive alive.  Unfortunately, that drive comes to no avail, as a 4th and goal at the TB 1, is stuffed.

#12.  Game 2 vs Tampa Bay.  4Q, 13:58, 3and8, our 46.  There've been a lot of recent posts about Mike Goodson's effectiveness in the backfield.  This play illustrates how it can be successful.  From a 4WR set, Goodson the lone setback, a toss to him gains 23 yards, for a FD to the TB 31.  This was a potentially key 3rd down conversion, but two plays later, a whiff by RT Schwartz leads to a sack and a fumble by Matt Moore.  It is at that point that a QB change is made, and Clausen comes in the game for the first time.

#11.  Game 3 vs Cincy.  3Q, 10:10, 2and8, our 41.  2 WRs, Smith and Gettis are set wide, Fiammetta and Stewart in the I, Jeff King in motion.  Clausen makes a great play action fake, freezing the LBs, and completes to King for 13 and a FD at the Cincy 46.  This play is significant, as it comes on our 8th Offensive Series, the first 7 being horrendous for Clausen.  After this, he plays with much more confidence and effectiveness.  And it's also important because it keeps a drive alive that eventually leads to our only TD in this game.

#10.  Game 1 vs NYG.  2Q, 0:45, Kickoff return taken by Mike Goodson at our 5, and returned to midfield.  We had just gone down 9-14 on a Manning TD pass, and this sparked our offense to a go-ahead 33-second drive to retake the lead just before the half.  (see below)  (Couldn't find a video of this one.)

#9.  Game 1 vs NYG.  4Q, 2:51, 3and7, our 14.  This is the first of 4 defensive gems included in these 14 Best Plays.  Greg Hardy is in at RDE, and despite the play being a sweep to the opposite side of the field, he pursues, makes the tackle, and strips the ball carrier, forcing a fumble that we recover, thwarting another score by the Giants.  Though the score was out of hand, and the game was almost over, he showed why he's to be reckoned with, as he showed great individual effort to make the play.  Simply put, he needs to be in the game more.

#8.  Game 1 vs NYG.  1Q, 10:58, 1and10, their 49.  Following an INT turnover, with good field position, in a scoreless game, this play shows how we should be able to run the ball.  With only LaFell and Smith wide, King in the slot left, a handoff to DeAngelo Williams gains 29 yards off left tackle.  A huge hole was formed by great blocks by Gross, Wharton, Fiammetta, and King, as you'd expect on that side, but also by Bernadeau, Kalil, LaFell, and Smith.  Everybody contributed to a fine run.  This identical play was successful for 28 yards in the first series of the 3rd game.  We need to go to it more often, as it's the most efficient blocking combination we seem to have.

#7.  Game 1 vs NYG.  2Q, 11:47, 4and5, their 34.  John Kasay proves he's still got it, as he makes a 52 yd FG with ease, to bring the score back to 6-7.

#6.  Game 3 vs Cincy.  3Q, 11:55, 3and1, our 49.  Ahead 10-3, Cincy was driving for another score.  We stacked the box with 8 to stop their run, but it was Ed Johnson who got tremendous penetration up the middle, and stopped the play for a loss of a yard, forcing a punt.  This led to our 75 yard drive, culminating in a TD, to pull to 7-10.

#5.  Game 3 vs Cincy.  4Q, 2:00, 3and1, our 14.  This was not a significant play in the game, as it was out of hand, us down 7-20, only 2 minutes left.  But it shows what Clausen can do.  We were in a 4WR set, 3 left, Goodson the lone back, from the shotgun.  Dropping to his 5, he unleashes a bomb to LaFell, down the left sidelines, who hauls it in at the Cincy 43, a 43 yard gain, but 52 in the air.  A very good play for the confidence of Clausen, LaFell, and our OC, I hope.

#4.  Game 3 vs Cincy.  1Q, 0:20, Cincy 1and10, their 32.  Charles Godfrey makes his 3rd INT of the season, and runs it back from our 49 to their 21.  Good pressure was put on Carson Palmer by Charles Johnson and Everette Brown - they almost got the sack, but better that they didn't, for it forced Palmer to throw off his back foot.  On the runback, freeing blocks were made by Richard Marshall and Jon Beason, among others that weren't visible on the replay.

#3.  Game 1 vs NYG.  4Q, 4:48, their 4and10, their 32.  This is the punt block by Greg Hardy, flying up the middle, from the RDT spot, and catching it so square that it flew backwards 20 yards into the EZ, for a safety, and 2 points.  Coupled with his forced fumble (#9 above, this establishes Hardy as a force to be reckoned with.)  These 2 defensive gems came within 2 minutes of each other, and each proves he gives it all, every play he's in.  Would anybody have guessed he'd have more points, after 3 games, than DeAngelo Williams?

#2.  Game 1 vs NYG.  2Q, 0:09, 1and10, their 19.  After driving from midfield, following Goodson's 45 yd KR, Moore has just completed 3 passes, to 3 different receivers, to get us to their 19, with time running down in the half, and us behind 9-14.  He then throws a strike to Steve Smith, over the middle, to take us into the half, up 16-14.  This, and #1 Best Play, are interchangeable, IMO, as both were TD passes (remember, that's all we've had, to this point, sad to say), and both came at times we could have won those 2 games.

#1.  Game 2 vs Tampa Bay.  2Q, 11:52, 4and4, their 37.  In times past, John Fox may have punted, or tried a long FG, from this position, but here he shows some balls, and challenges his offense to make a play.  They did.  Against a 6-man rush, Moore led Smith perfectly, out of his break, about 7 yards past the LOS, and Smith did the rest, sprinting for 30YAC, and the TD that tied the score, 7-7.  There are plays we executed well, just not often enough.

Well, there you have it.  We haven't won a stinking game yet, but we have made (at least) 14 damned good plays.

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